‘NCIS’: Alden Parker Does One Thing Surprisingly Different Than Gibbs

by John Jamison

Well, NCIS fans, Mark Harmon’s Leroy Gibbs is out, and Gary Cole’s Alden Parker is in as Special Agent in Charge. Sean Murray’s Timothy McGee could still be in the mix when the show returns from its week off, but the events of episode 5, “Face the Strange,” gave the impression of new Season 19 cast member Gary Cole taking over. And thanks to the short, revealing promo for episode 6, we’ve already spotted a significant difference between Gibbs and Parker.

NCIS fans have long suspected that Gary Cole’s addition for Season 19 is an attempt to replace Mark Harmon. If that is what the long-running series is going for, they have no problem replacing him with a very different character. Just how different is Cole’s Agent Alden Parker from Gibbs? Well, when was the last time you saw Harmon’s character bring a box of pastries to the office?

That’s right. In the NCIS promo for the upcoming November 1 episode titled “False Start,” Alden Parker brings the team some treats to enjoy with their morning coffee.

“The new guy is trying to score some brownie points,” says Timothy McGee (Sean Murray) in the promotional video.

Hilariously, Alden Parker shares his reason for trying to score “brownie points.” It highlights the difficulty of his position and the difference between him and his predecessor, relative taskmaster Leroy Gibbs.

“Would you rather I only bark orders?” says Parker.

“It’s what we’re used to,” McGee fires back.

Clearly, things are changing when it comes to NCIS team dynamics. It remains to be seen whether Alden Parker’s generous approach will cement him as a permanent Special Agent in Charge. But everyone loves a pastry, after all. So perhaps the gesture hints at his acceptance when the show returns in November.

Mark Harmon’s ‘NCIS’ Co-Stars’ Praise From Over the Years

The rise of Gary Cole’s Alden Parker on NCIS will be a constant reminder, for a while at least, of Mark Harmon’s long tenure on the show. While the door always remains open for Harmon to return, it seems like an appropriate time to reflect on what he has meant to the show. What better way to do that than by looking at comments from his longtime co-stars?

“[Harmon is] a very rare person in this business because there’s no assistant, no entourage. Mark is largely just a very straight-forward, approachable, calm, assertive guy. He’s not a people pleaser,” said Anthony DiNozzo actor Michael Weatherly in 2009.

“Ducky” Mallard actor David McCallum even cites Harmon as the one to get the series under control toward the beginning of its run.

“There was always a certain degree of chaos [at one point during the series’ production], but it’s all gone now. Mark was instrumental in putting our house in order—I really thank him for that,” McCallum said in 2007, per TV Insider.